Alberta pastor accused of violating restrictions on released COVID-19 will not be fined $ 1,500

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Alberta pastor accused of violating restrictions on released COVID-19 will not be fined $ 1,500


EDMONTON – The Edmonton area pastor jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions was released on Monday.
James Coates was jailed on February 16 after repeatedly hosting church services at GraceLife that exceeded Alberta’s 15 percent capacity.

He was detained for a month because he refused to accept the conditions of his release after being released on bail.

Coates has been charged with two violations of public health law and failing to meet a condition of his appointment.

He pleaded guilty to one lesser count, the latest charge in a deal that saw one of the two charges dropped under the Public Health Act.

His three-day trial on the pending Public Health Act charge begins on May 3.

In a joint submission, the Crown and the defense asked for a fine of $ 100, but the judge increased it to $ 1,500.

The judge berated Coates for endangering his congregation and the general public, adding, “He’s serving a period of time because he wants to make a statement. ”

One of Coates’ attorneys, Jay Cameron, told CTV News Edmonton the fine was paid by the pastor’s on-call time.

“He has 53 days of credit because he has time and a half,” the lawyer said. “Twelve of those days were in that period, so he doesn’t really pay any money. It is the judge who makes a declaration with this amount. ”

CTV News asked the Crown if Coates did not have to pay the fine. The Crown confirmed that the time served credit would cover the amount of the fine.

The church defied a closure order and was cited for violating COVID-19 restrictions on occupancy, physical distancing and masks.

The lawyer could not comment when asked if Coates would continue to give Sunday services.

With files from Bill Fortier

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